Coffee table books, because they are usually heavy on illustrations, can be interesting to page through. These supersize books don’t always fit neatly on shelves, so in some libraries they have their own space. Here are a few big titles on different topics.
100 Years of the World Series, 1903-2003
by Eric Enders
“The history of the World Series is not only thrilling, but amazing in its breadth. In these pages you will read stories of passenger pigeons, a hen, and a Foxx. There are gamblers, tough guys, charmers, liars, gentlemen, con artists, and great ballplayers — and at least one man (Pete Rose) who is all of the above.” Numerous photographs, both in black and white and in color, embellish the stories told about World Series games throughout the years. Posed team portraits and split-second action shots capture the details. An appendix shows the box scores from the 1903 series between the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates “(whose hometown restored the ‘h’ to its name in 1911)” to the 2003 match between the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees.
Diaspora: Homelands in Exile
by Frédéric Brenner
“My work was driven by a sense of imminent loss. Two thousand years of history were about to vanish, were vanishing. I felt a desire and a responsibility to document these permutations of survival in exile before they disappeared; photography was simply a means to that end.” Volume one in this two-book set is composed of black-and-white photographs of people around the world. The second volume contains people’s thoughts and reflections in relation to the pictures. “The printed passages counteract the seemingly static and instantaneous nature of photography by making it part of an ongoing and evolving conversation through time and space. Similarly, these volumes demonstrate that there is no one way that Jews look or sound or think or feel.”
Whales & Dolphins of the World
by Mark Simmonds, photography by seapics.com
“This book is intended as both a celebration of the whales and dolphins of the world and an introduction to their diversity, biology and conservation.” The various shapes and sizes of dolphins stand out against the blue water in the photographs of these popular sea creatures. Accompanying text explains the biology of marine mammals and the ecology of human relations. “Fish and krill avoid bubbles and when Humpback Whales encounter a dense ‘swarm’ of prey, one or two individuals manoeuvre below them and then swim upwards in a spiral motion emitting a train of bubbles from their blowholes. These bubbles cause the fish and krill to clump together and the whales then swim through this mass with their mouths open.”
Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator
by Thomas S. Buechner
“Norman Rockwell painted 318 covers for the Saturday Evening Post, each of which was seen by an average of four million people…His subject is average America.” As if this book isn’t big enough, some of the illustrations fold out. Included with the famous covers are murals, advertisements, calendars and greeting cards that Rockwell painted over the course of his career. “Norman Rockwell has been both illustrator and storyteller — and both have long traditions within the history of art. In successfully serving one of the largest audiences ever reached by an artist, his work reflects the tastes of his times to an unusually high degree.”
A Photographer’s View, 1990-2005
by Annie Leibovitz
“Going through my pictures to put this book together was like being on an archaeological dig.” Photographer Leibovitz lets the mostly black-and-white images speak for themselves, identifying only the subject and date. The majority are of people, including celebrities, and range from birth to grave, from nudes to formal portraits. Incorporating in this book pictures that she shot for work and those taken of family and friends, Leibovitz explains, “I don’t have two lives. This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”
The Rutland Free Library has the titles above (and more) in the “oversize” corner.